Where's the method in Africa's madness?

The sweet early morning sunrays full of vitamin D, conned their way through the golden curtains covering the wide doors overlooking the sprawling green gardens of the hotel; for a second, I thought I had dozed off in the chaise-longue at the balcony. It was a beautiful morning.

The sweet early morning sunrays full of vitamin D, conned their way through the golden curtains covering the wide doors overlooking the sprawling green gardens of the hotel; for a second, I thought I had dozed off in the chaise-longue at the balcony. It was a beautiful morning.

It’s 10am on Saturday; normally, I am up at 5am by default, so why did I wake up late? My brain volunteered two plausible explanations; “either you’re ageing or it’s simply an effect of the comfort of the hotel’s king-size bed,” it said. I chose the latter, for it was less frightening. 

In spite of the comfort and serenity of my surrounding, in Nyamata town, a safe distance from the hustle and bustle of Kigali city, my mind felt slightly boggled as I struggled with deciding a topic on which to opine this weekend. I have to be careful to avoid being spiked again.

Africa is never short of drama and two incidents particularly stood out this week; the first is related to the ongoing elections of representatives to the East African Legislative Assembly; in one neighboring country, candidates have been openly asked for bribes in return for support.

Quite a shame that while we need serious minds to summit in Arusha and make laws that can steer us closer to full integration, some countries still regard the regional assembly as an opportunity to eat and appease cronies whose political candles have waned on the national scene.

Happening at a time when the European Union is literally collapsing, one would genuinely hope that Africa could become the new champion of integration by learning from EU’s mistakes to better manage regional blocks such as the East African Community, but alas!

There’s only a faint sign of political hygiene on the continent’s horizon. Certainly not from the Southern part of the continent where, the display of violence on the floor of the South African Parliament left me utterly baffled and asking myself, where is the method in Africa’s madness?

Nelson Mandela, {God have mercy on his soul), great as he may have been, left behind an incomplete project in South Africa when he let his liberation war to be prematurely ended by a deal that didn’t give clear victory to an ideology that would unite the nation behind one cause.

I know it is not easy to criticize a man of Mandela’s caliber but we must face the facts as they’re; what we see in South Africa today is largely a consequence of how the apartheid was resolved…was it even resolved or it simply evolved into a new being?

Stunned, I watched as Africans who previously united against a common enemy, the white aggressor, turned the violence against each other, colour still a prominent player in their clash, twenty three years after the end of apartheid.

One group of Africans wearing white shirts roughed up another group wearing red overalls and forcefully ejected them from parliament, where President Zuma, the protagonist in the drama was waiting to give a state of the nation address.

The incident left South Africans comparing two states of their nation, one as witnessed in the violent exchange on national television and the other version, as presented in the President’s address. 

Julius Malema, a young brand of his country’s opposition politics has become a continental name for leading his red clad members in the fight against Zuma’s alleged corruption; on the day of the violence, he had rallied his people to block Zuma from addressing Parliament.

Yet when a white member of parliament raised on the floor of parliament, and accused Zuma of corruption and running down the country, Members of Zuma’s party jerked out of their seats, and loudly accused him of being ‘racist’ and therefore had no right to condemn Zuma.

So it became corruption vs. racism. As Africa’s most industrialized economy, South Africa has failed to inspire the rest of the continent’s smaller members by setting the right pace for African development.

The country is not only unsafe to its own citizens; it is also hostile to visitors from other African countries; hate, violent crime, disease, corruption and xenophobia are things that pop-up when the country’s profile is discussed.

In 2015, I missed an important international meeting in Johannesburg simply because I couldn’t be granted a Visa to enter the country. I know many Rwandans whose dreams have been scurried because they couldn’t get a Visa to go to South African schools.

Yet if Africa was Europe, South Africa and Nigeria would be our UK and Germany, respectively and acting as the twin engines to steer the continent’s economic development.  True, they are still the continent’s economic engines; but they’re troubled and risky so we are left relying on smaller but more efficient engines to get ahead.

For instance, as global powers coil back their financial support to focus more on their respective domestic problems, it is smaller economies like Rwanda that are leading efforts to end donor dependence in the financing of the African Union.

 

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